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Chronicle of the Chinese Emperors: The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial China Hardcover – November 1, 1998


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Chronicle of the Chinese Emperors: The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial China + Chronicle of the Popes: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Papacy over 2000 Years + Chronicle of the Russian Tsars: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Russia
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Product Details

  • Series: Chronicle
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; First Edition edition (November 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034070604X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340706046
  • ASIN: 0500050902
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #803,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ann Paludan, who was educated at Oxford, lived in Beijing from 1972 to 1976, and returns regularly to China on extensive research trips. Her other books include The Imperial Ming Tombs and The Chinese Spirit Road.

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Customer Reviews

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See all 21 customer reviews
This is the 4th one I have purchased.
Pat Savu
This is a great book because it highlights very real, key events and individuals who've shaped Chinese history over the centuries.
Will Hoover
It may come as a surprise to many, but this book is enjoyable to read.
M. A. Treu

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Yang Shao-yun on December 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
A blooper on page 10 says it all: the Sui Dynasty is inexplicably represented by the character 'Qi'. Paludan's book is well-intentioned and nicely-illustrated, but her grasp of the Chinese language and experience in historical research are clearly not up to the daunting task of presenting a comprehensive account of imperial Chinese history. As her bibliography shows, she has had to rely on several dated works in English, as well as more recent and authoritative ones like the massive Cambridge History of China. However, she flounders badly in the second section ("Confusion, Reunification and Golden Age", AD 220-907) and never makes it out of the confusion. The text in this section is peppered with factual inaccuracies and errors in translation that can only be blamed on general ignorance. While struggling with the emperors of the Southern Dynasties, she ignores those of the concurrent Northern Dynasties, sparing only two pages to comment on socio-economic developments in the North. The rulers of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms receive equally sparse attention. The superficial quotations that she has selected from Western sources betray the same lack of depth in examining the historical record.
It would be unfair to single out Ann Paludan for lack of scholarship, however, because the ages of fragmentation from AD 189-589 and 907-979 suffer from a miserable dearth of research among Western historians of China. Paludan apparently had only three sources in English to go upon, none published within the last 20 years. Sadly, one of them is the famous but thoroughly mythologised "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", the author of which she characteristically names as Zhong Luo Guan rather than Luo Guanzhong.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read two others in this series (Roman Emperors and Russian Tzars), I was somewhat disapoionted by this book in the series. Prehaps it has to do with the complexity of the subject matter and the politics of the Chinese Imperial Court itself but I found the book jumping from reign to reign describing many of the emperors with only a sentence or two. Also, it seemed like the book spent more time talking about the other players in court life rather than the emperor himself. Also, while the book has numerous pictures only a few of the emperors have a picture in the book. I would have liked to see pictures of all the emperors if possible. My final complaint with the book is that it would talk about other players in court life or politics without introducing them or putting their role in context.
For example, the book often says something such as "following the death of Emperor X, Mr. Y was able to place the infant son of so-and-so on the throne where thereafter Mr. Y dominated Chinese government for the next 50 years" but then say nothing more about the emperor or Mr. Y and the book would just jump to the next emperor.
I can understand that it is beyond the scope of the book, but over and over the author points out that often the power behind the throne was a woman but then never really descibes the woman or how she came to exert such influnce.
Overall I enjoyed the book very much, but the text seemed to raise many questions and skip around. As a result, after I finished the book I felt I knew less about the Chinese Emperors than I did the Roman Emperors or Russian Tzars after reading those books.
In spite of the faults I found with the book, it was still an enjoyable book to read and the pictures were interesting. I would recomend this book to the general reader or somebody who is just starting to learn Chinese History.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I have always wanted a book of Imperial China to keep as a reference and I have found it. It gives a good account of the subject from a primarily historical point of view and is free from any critical viewpoint. The author has also included changes in the social makeup as well as advances in the arts which added to the pleasure of reading. But more important is gives a very good description of each emperor and their achievements or failures. It does not analyse each reign in detail, it fact it is quite superficial, but I do not think it weakens the book. It fact I think it one of the strengths of the book that it is easy to read ands a good starting point for someone who is interested in Imperial China.
I am now looking for a similar book to cover the period from the mythical emperors to the first Qin Emperor.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Treu on December 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The publisher, Thames and Hudson, does a great job producing all of the books in their "Chronicle" series of historical overviews: sturdy covers; attractive dust jackets; and heavy, slick stock to withstand years of reference and re-reading. These books make important, useful additions to home libraries.
This book is a record of China's emperors, from Qin Shihuangdi (221BC), to Puyi (deposed in 1911AD). The story is told in the clear, instructive prose of author Ann Paludan, and the story is supported and enhanced by "368 illustrations with 126 in color", as proclaimed in the dust jacket blurbs. Among the illustrations, one finds photographs of historical locations, art works, and tombs, as well as maps and portraits of the emperors.
This is not an exhaustive history, but an informative, easy to follow -- thanks to timelines-- overview. It is quite possible that the basis for many school reports will be found here.
It may come as a surprise to many, but this book is enjoyable to read. It is a good choice for a parent, or a student seeking to get acquainted with the Chinese Imperial System, which existed for 2000 years.
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